On Sep. 19, 2015 former NHL tough man Todd Ewen was working in his front yard in a quiet, upscale St. Louis suburb. He left his car trunk up, the garage door wide open. He went downstairs, got a gun, and inexplicably shot himself in the head. The St. Louis County police report was pretty clear – Ewen’s death was caused by a self-inflicted gunshot.
That part of this story is not under dispute. They are the cold, sad, sobering facts of Ewen’s young existence. He was 49 years old when he died. He left his entire world in shock – especially his wife Kelli, who was left with three young children to raise, and a whole lot of questions about why her husband – once a creative genius and just a beast of a hockey player – killed himself. For me, having consulted with Ewen on a writing project around that time, I was dumbfounded by this tragic and unsettling news.
Kelli is suing the NHL for these very reasons, claiming that her husband suffered the effects of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) from his role as an enforcer during his pro career. The lawsuit was entered in California District Court in May 2019, before COVID-19 brought most legal proceedings to a screeching halt around the U.S.
The case has been a back and forth struggle, with unsettling details emerging of a text chain that was alleged to have existed between Kelli and Todd in the moments before his death. She scoffed at the accusation. His widow has been widely quoted on national networks and has become…